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55 Years of James Bond

It’s been 55 years since James Bond made his debut 55 years ago, when the first Bond film “Dr No”, premiered on the big screen in October 1962.

Ian Fleming wrote the original novel in 1958, which set in motion a multi-billion-dollar film franchise that is still going strong today and is arguably bigger than ever.

From the beginning, it was planned to be a series of Bond films. Fleming had written several novels featuring the character and options that had been taken out to adapt all of them. The first print debut wrote by Fleming was “Casino Royale” but the producers chose “Dr No” to be the first film because of its fast-moving plot, it’s exotic location in sunny Jamaica and it’s topical theme of space rocket launches.

Bond is sent to Jamaica in “Dr No”, which he investigates a disappearance of a fellow British agent. Following up leads and teaming up with local allies,
See full article at The Hollywood News »

When Authors Write Movies

  • Cinelinx
A look at 5 movies that you might not have known were written by famous authors. Sometimes they worked out, sometimes they did not.

Writing a movie can be a lot different from writing a book. Unlike a movie script, a novel is freeform. The author can take any style or format they would like to convey their ideas. A script, on the other hand, has to be able to be interpreted by the actors, filmmakers, and the audience. Therefore, it is typically structured in a certain way to help people working on the movie do their job and people watching the movie comprehend what is happening. Furthermore, a major difference between writing novels and movies is that movies are (mostly) restricted to the visual realm. It’s not easy to show audiences what characters are thinking, which severely limits plot and character development techniques. Overall, there are unique challenges to
See full article at Cinelinx »

Who are the two producers credited on every Batman movie?

Simon Brew Brendon Connelly Feb 14, 2017

Michael Uslan and Benjamin Melniker have producer credits on nearly 40 Batman films – but they only really worked on one, it seems…

If you stick around for the end credits of The Lego Batman Movie, you might notice the names of two people credited as executive producers on the picture. They are Michael Uslan and Benjamin Melniker. Nothing odd there, apart from the small matter of them having absolutely nothing to do with the film. To the best of our knowledge, they had no conversation with director Chris McKay and his team at any time before, during or after the production. But they did pick up a cheque and a credit for their troubles.

Having people listed as executive producers who are ‘hands off’ is nothing particularly fresh, and we looked at just what an executive producer does in this article here.

But what’s interesting
See full article at Den of Geek »

"Alan Ladd: The 1940S Collection" DVD Release From Turner Classic Movies

  • CinemaRetro
Turner Classic Movies has released three Alan Ladd titles in a set titled "Alan Ladd: The 1940s Collection". Here is the official press release:

Handsome leading man Alan Ladd found success in the 1940s and ‘50s, first as the tough guy in several films noir co-starring Veronica Lake and then as the stoic hero in Westerns such as Shane (1953). Turner Classic Movies and Universal are proud to present this three-film collection that showcases Ladd’s talents in a range of genres from thriller to adventure, as well as the work of such directors as Irving Pichel and Frank Tuttle, and writers the likes of Richard Maibaum and Seton I. Miller. Lucky Jordan (1942) Directed by Frank Tuttle (who also directed Ladd’s breakthrough film This Gun for Hire the same year), Lucky Jordan stars Ladd as a racketeer who gets drafted into the Us Army and will do anything to
See full article at CinemaRetro »

The Best James Bond Films

Back in 2012, our staff decided to group together and come up with a list of the best films in the 007, James Bond franchise. With Spectre rolling out this weekend, we decided to republish the article. Let us know which is your favourite, and be sure to check out our review of Spectre here.

#1: From Russia With Love

Directed by Terence Young

Written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood

1963, UK

50 years later, and with twenty three “official” entries, From Russia With Love represents the very best of the Bond franchise. Skyfall is the closest to be considered, at best – almost equal to what was achieved in ’64 – but From Russia With Love is still unparalleled. Although it is the second in the series, and although it feels like no Bond film that followed, it is the film that solidifies all the Bond elements into a formula – a template that carries on,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Licence to Kill’ brings a modern edge to the character

Licence to Kill

Directed by John Glen

Screenplay by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum

UK, 1989

With the release of Skyfall this month, critics have cited the major departures from the Bond formula taken by that film. They credit Daniel Craig for bringing a modern edge to a character that had become ridiculous in the Brosnan years. It’s easy to forget that similar claims were made about Timothy Dalton back in the late ‘80s. The classically trained actor brought grace to the role with his first appearance in 1987’s The Living Daylights. That film retained the look and feeling of the Roger Moore films while starting the shift towards a more realistic hero. The change became a lot more dramatic in Dalton’s second outing two years later. Licence to Kill pared down the excesses of the typical Bond film and crafted a more personal tale of revenge. While
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘The Living Daylights’ didn’t reboot Bond, but had a lot of fun within the formula

The Living Daylights

Directed by John Glen

Written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson

1987, USA

It wasn’t guaranteed that the Daniel Craig films would successfully reboot James Bond, in part because such a restart had already been tried before. After 1985’s A View To a Kill, in which age had begun to

show on both Roger Moore as Bond and Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny, the first real reboot was attempted. Timothy Dalton – who had turned down On Her Majesty’s Secret Service because he felt that at 24 he was too young to replace Sean Connery – was brought on and a script was commissioned to return Bond to his Cold War roots. The result was The Living Daylights, which doesn’t quite work as a reboot but makes for deeply enjoyable viewing.

Too many of the old Bond conventions remained for The Living Daylights to be a true
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘A View To Kill’ – Roger Moore’s Entirely Forgettable Bond Finale

A View To Kill

Directed by John Glen

Screenplay by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum

1985, USA

As soon as Roger Moore took over the role of James Bond, the franchise quickly devolved into a state of ridiculousness that rendered the entire series beyond parody. A View To a Kill, Moore’s final film as Ian Fleming’s influential character, could easily be seen as a franchise grasping for relevancy with the younger generation of its day. It tries to tone down the kitsch elements whilst still retaining a core sense of the Bond series for the millions of returning viewers not yet bored by the increasing stupidity of the onscreen antics. Younger audiences were to be greeted with a plot about microchips, because the younger generation have a burgeoning obsession with technology, as well as a supporting turn from offbeat pop sensation Grace Jones and a Duran Duran theme
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Octopussy’ delivers the thrills and villains in a jet-setting adventure, seemingly despite Bond’s presence

Octopussy

Directed by John Glen

Written by George Macdonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum, and Michael G. Wilson

United Kingdom, 1983

1983 presented a unique challenge for the Bond franchise. For the first time since Ursula Andress strolled out of the water, there were going to be two Bond films in theatres in the same year. As if that wasn’t enough, Never Say Never Again was also going to see Sean Connery, the first man to ever play Bond and who had handed the reigns off to the current incarnation, reprise the role once again, pitting the two men most known for playing Bond, Connery and Roger Moore (George Lazenby’s one-time outing as the agent notwithstanding) against each other. It is against these conditions that Octopussy was made, with the necessity of having to prove itself anew. Fortunately, the movie delivers on several fronts, making for a thrilling film, albeit one with a curious third act.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘For Your Eyes Only’ is Moore at His Most Connery

For Your Eyes Only

Written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson, based on Ian Fleming’s short stories “For Your Eyes only” and “Risico”

Directed by John Glen

UK, 1981,

You probably have never heard this before, but my favourite James Bond film of all time, For Your Eyes Only, was the first 007 film I ever saw. (Spookily, this is exactly the same reason that my Huffington Post doppelgänger likes the film.)

But I don’t love Roger Moore’s fourth Bond film for nostalgic reasons, or at least not completely. Every so often, the 007 franchise strips Bond of his gadgets and gives us a back to basics story where a more ruthless secret agent has only his wits to fall back on: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Living Daylights, Casino Royale and For Your Eyes Only are the best examples. Of these, For Your Eyes Only stands
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ is a thrilling showcase of Roger Moore’s turn as the Mi-6 agent

The Spy Who Loved Me

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

Screenplay by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum

UK, 1977

There’s an undeniable lasting appeal to Bond. Lasting 50 years is certainly proof of that, but there’s something deeper. After all, one can point to Star Trek and Doctor Who as cultural icons that have stood the test of time, but there’s something different about Bond. Trekkies or Whovians faced ostracization for many years, the fans relegated to dark corners and hushed tones of conversation. Ordering a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, however, paints someone as the very opposite of a nerd, something that has never changed throughout the run of Bond. So what stands Bond apart? It can’t be the saving the world aspect of things; after all, there are many heroes and heroines who’ve saved the world on a regular basis, perhaps with more frequency than Bond,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ catches Bond in transition

The Man with the Golden Gun

Written by Richard Maibaum & Tom Mankiewicz

Directed by Guy Hamilton

UK, 1974

One hallmark of the venerable Bond franchise is its willingness to change with the times. Sometimes the changes feel organic, like the shift to a more brutish Daniel Craig after international terrorism took center stage in the early 2000’s. Other times, however, you can smell Bond’s desperation to stay relevant. Such is the case with 1974’s middling entry, The Man with the Golden Gun.

Guy Hamilton’s fourth turn as Bond director (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die) is a study in uncertainty. As Bond, Roger Moore is still searching for the debonair persona he would find in the upcoming classic, The Spy Who Loved Me. Surrounding Moore’s tentative performance are a collection of unfocused action set pieces, a less-than-formidable duo of Bond girls, and the most repugnant character in the series’ history.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Live and Let Die’ gets Roger Moore’s Bond tenure off to a sputtering start

Live and Let Die

Written by Tom Mankiewicz

Directed by Guy Hamilton

UK, 1973

1973’s Live and Let Die unleashed a new kind of Bond upon the world, a Bond whose bland propriety and vacuous quips would dominate the screen for another twelve years. Roger Moore, taking over for Sean Connery, the third different Bond in three films, had enjoyed popular success as a television star on mystery series “The Saint.” He had originally tested for the role prior to inaugural series entry Dr. No, but was deemed “too pretty” by Bond producers Harry Salzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli. Sean Connery had only grudgingly agreed to return for 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, and had no interest in continuing further due to tension with the producers. Salzman was not a fan of the choice of Moore, but was overruled by Broccoli, who saw in the TV star the opportunity to create an
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Diamonds are Forever’ over the top but dull

Diamonds are Forever

Directed by Guy Hamilton

Screenplay by Richard Maibaum & Tom Mankiewicz

UK, 1971

Following up On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, widely considered by most fans to be the best Bond incarnation pre-reboot, here the series takes a step back to recast the iconic Sean Connery in the role of mischievous misogynist Jimmy B, and promptly trips over itself in a strangely crass and dull outing. Replacing the wooden George Lazenby with the series’ original super spy proves to be mere consolation rather than icing on the cake bomb.

Diamonds are Forever surprisingly starts with direct continuity, with Bond leading a ruthless and fisticuffs laden hunt across the world for wife killer Ernst Stavros Blofelt (played here by Charles Gray). He eventually tracks down the evil mastermind and gives him a searing exit to proceedings, or so it seems. Getting back to the small matter of his day job
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ – a challenging, invigorating and romantic piece of action filmmaking

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Written by Richard Maibaum

Directed by Peter Hunt

UK, 1969

To call On Her Majesty’s Secret Service underappreciated is to call the sky blue. Only in the years since the release of Daniel Craig’s introduction to the series, Casino Royale, has Ohmss begun to be reappraised as a realistic, character-driven approach to the Bond series. Its failure at the box office compared to the Connery entries that preceded it led to the producers, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Salzman, returning to the Goldfinger formula of larger than life villains, iconic henchmen, ludicrously elaborate take-over-the-world schemes, and a generally heightened sense to the proceedings, all of which are noticeably absent from Ohmss.

Sean Connery had a rough experience during filming of 1967’s You Only Live Twice. The media scrutiny, long filming periods, and promotional duties caused him to leave the role that had made his career.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘From Russia With Love’ remains sans pareil

From Russia With Love

Directed by Terrence Young

Written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood

1963, UK

50 years later, and with twenty-three “official” entries, From Russia With Love represents the very best of the Bond franchise. Skyfall is the closest to be considered, at best – almost equal to what was achieved in ’64 – but From Russia With Love is still unparalleled. Although it is the second in the series, and although it feels like no Bond film that followed, it is the film that solidifies all the Bond elements into a formula – a template that carries on, even today.

Spectre’s Persian-stroking nemesis/mastermind Ernest Blofeld makes his first appearance and so does Desmond Llewelyn’s gadget-friendly Q (starting a run that continued until his death in 1999). Screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood return, as does director and editor Terence Young and Peter Hunt. John Barry supplies the fine score by utilizing Monte Norman’s theme,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Best James Bond Scenes: Sean Connery Era

The most commercially successful Bond film to date is Thunderball. The pic earned over $141 million worldwide, of which more than half was generated domestically in the U.S. The film was such a success, it was remade some 18 years later as Never Say Never Again. This is without a doubt my favourite Bond film (although not the best), and the film that perfected the ‘Bond Formula”. Every key player is back: lead actor Sen Connery, director Terence Young, longtime Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum, cinematographer Ted Moore, title sequence designer Maurice Binder, and composer John Barry.

11: Thunderball – Opening Title Sequence

Maurice Binder returns to the fold after two films away and creates the quintessential Bond title sequence. The titles of Thunderball are visually striking, showing silhouettes of naked women swimming around against coloured backgrounds. Binder hired two dancers who actually swam about in tanks in disco clubs and convinced them
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Thunderball’ – the first Bond film that understood that it’s not about the story it’s about the character

Thunderball

Directed by Terrence Young

Written by John Hopkins and Richard Maibaum

1965, UK

Being a relative novice to the James Bond canon, I have never grown accustomed to the many colorful details that have leaked from the Bond films into popular culture. Thunderball, as I discovered, is the home to many of the Bond clichés, as they’ve more or less become. It is, from what I can understand, the mold that which every Bond film is created.

There are the clever puns delivered with a wink, daring escapes using proto-gadgets that bend the boundaries of belief, the beautiful women, seemingly hypnotized by the smooth debonair Bond, and of course, the cartoonish villain and his cartoonish plot to conquer, or destroy the world.

These are all clear marks of every Bond film, past, present, and future. And though there were films that used these ideas before, and even Bond films that used the same formula,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Goldfinger’ – 24 carat quality

Goldfinger

Directed by Guy Hamilton

Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn

Starred: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman

Released September 1964 by United Artists

Even if you had never seen this film, just as with Ursula Andress rising from the waves like a bikini-clad version of Botticelli’s Venus in Dr. No, you’d recognize the iconic image. The girl, the bed, the gold paint. The sight of gilded Shirley Eaton spread out on the sheets is so evocative that – like Ursula – it was subjected to an ironic nod in a later Bond film. If Halle Berry wore the updated bikini in Die Another Day, instead of gold Gemma Arterton did sheet-duty wearing nothing but a coat of oil for Quantum of Solace.

Gold was the symbol of wealth in 1964, but in today’s world of global warming and fuel station queues, hydrocarbons have taken its place in the cultural lexicon. And
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Dr. No’ – Arguably sexist and racist, but no doubt, terrific entertainment

Dr. No

Directed by Terence Young

Written by Richard Maibaum & Johanna Harwood

1962, UK

Author, Ian Fleming had been seeking out a movie deal for nearly a decade until the rights for his novels were finally bought by producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli. Little did they know they would change the landscape of spy-action cinema forever with the release of Dr. No.

Dr. No was the first James Bond novel turned into a film, though it was the sixth novel in the book series The film was adapted by Wolf Mankowitz (who went uncredited by request, fearing the film would bomb), Johanna Harwood (the first and only women screenwriter of the franchise), Berkeley Mather, and long time contributor Richard Maibaum. Arguably Dr. No is one of the closest cinematic interpretations of any Bond novel in tone and plot. The changes they made were mostly cosmetic save for some minor
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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